Monday, 28 November 2011

Head BAM

Hooray! Our first contribution to the Chemo Chic Project.

BAM Bamboo Beanie - review by Sue Mercer

Since losing my hair I have tried a lot of different headwear. At first I wore 
scarves and practiced with tying different styles but I always had the nagging 
fear that the scarf would come undone and I would be unawarely walking 
around with a half-exposed bald head - not a good look. After a while I learned 
to be bald and proud and had no difficulty in walking around with a bare head  
- especially in the summer when the warmth of the sun felt particularly 
sensuous and healing. However there remained a fear of being 'caught out' 
unsuccessfully trying to conceal something deemed socially unacceptable. I 
likened it to a time in Bangladesh when I had gone out wearing a very 
modest, long pashmina, wrapped around me like a skirt, only to catch it on a 
wing mirror and end up standing in the crowded street desperately trying to 
conceal my legs amidst assorted children, cattle, amputee bands and 
rickshaw drivers whilst my teenage son accused me of turning it into a circus. 
However, I digress ... 

I tried a couple of beanie hats that were ok, in that they stayed on my head, 
but I always thought that they made me look vaguely like a channel swimmer 
and I am someone who can swim without getting her hair wet anyway. 
Ordinary hats were not suitable at all; my head had strangely shrunk since 
losing my hair, so the hats tended to fall down over my eyes. 

Now the BAM is cool! It's more generous than a regular beanie. It looks stylish 
and I can dress it up with a fancy pin. I would actually go so far as to say it is 
elegant - certainly not a word I would use to describe a regular beanie. Mine is 
a lovely grey colour and well made. It is double layered and stretchy. I can pull 
it down over my eyebrows if they are looking particularly werewolfy (no-one 
ever told me that when your eyebrows grow back they can grow a little curly 
and in my case with white stripes) and it still looks good. It's generous enough 
to be able to turn up the brim or pull up at a jaunty angle that I like to think 
looks very 1930s movie star. 

The hat is made in Turkey of 68% bamboo, 28% cotton and a bit of stretchy 
elastane. Bamboo is a natural fibre that does not damage the environment 
and most importantly does not add any toxic chemicals to my delicate head. It 
is very soft and warm and does not make my head feel stifled. 

Mine is a lovely grey colour. I am very pleased with my BAM beanie and will 
be keeping it to wear even when my hair comes back. 

Sue Mercer was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in December 2010.  She underwent three rounds of chemotherapy and then went on a 3 week healing retreat at Hippocrates Health Institute, Florida before having a bone marrow transplant on July 1st 2011.  She is now recovering well.

Friday, 18 November 2011

The Chemo Chic Project is Born

With the publication of my memoir The Elegant Art of Falling Apart, I feel that my personal Chemo Chic story has been told. 
It is time for Chemo Chic to take a new direction.
When I was diagnosed there was so much I did not know. I still don't know a great deal - but everything that I have learned along the way I have shared on this blog. And to me, that is the point: Chemo Chic is not about me, its about sharing what I've learned. 
Now I am asking you to do the same. 
The Chemo Chic Project has commenced and has already recruited two fantastic experts to the panel: fitness angel Melanie Metcalfe and natural beauty guru Imelda Burke. More will be joining soon. Our vision is to recreate Chemo Chic as a brilliant resource for anyone going through the trauma of cancer. If you feel you have a story that can inspire others, or just some good practical advice, then we would love your contribution.
We are looking for guest blog posts which are:
  • Useful
  • Practical
  • Positive
  • Well written
  • Well researched
You may be going through cancer yourself. You may be a partner, friend or family member of someone who is going through it. You may have had cancer in the past. You may have unique insight as a doctor, nurse, nutritionist, therapist, chef or hairdresser. Your story might be about a day in your life; any aspect of your cancer journey or your experience as a partner, friend or family member of someone going through cancer. You could include photos, illustrations, videos or links. No story is too small but it has to be yours. 
Chemo Chic is about living well in the face of cancer. We are particularly interested in posts that cover the following areas:
  • Recipes and food 
  • Natural beauty and cosmetics
  • Wigs and hair tips and stories
  • Clothing, hats and scarves
  • Fitness and exercise
  • Complementary therapies
  • Relationships with partners, family and friends
What we are not looking for:
  • Advice giving (but do relate your own experiences)
  • Medical advice (unless you have specific expertise in this field)
  • Miracle cures (unless you have genuinely experienced one yourself)
Send your proposals and submissions to Please share this with anyone who you know who you think has a great story to tell or a useful tip to share.

Many thanks and looking forward to reading your posts. Now get writing!
Jessica Jones